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SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS INSTRUCTION IN PHILIPPINE EDUCATION CURRICULUM

Alazada, Noreen Dianne Sanga Bachelor of Science in Development Communication Education 102 Section U

March 17, 2011

INTRODUCTION When the researcher entered the College of Development Communication two years ago, there are many instances that the decline in the proficiency of Filipino students in Mathematics and Science examinations all over the countries in Asia was mentioned by the professors. Filipino students have low level of scientific and mathematics literacy. A large percentage cannot apply concepts to real life. (UP NISMED Scientific, Technological, and Environmental Literacy Study, 2005). Further in this paper, the goals and objectives of Mathematics and Science teaching will be discussed. What has been a former forte of Filipino youth then was not much of an excellent subject for the youth of today because of this decline in the result of nationwide literacy exams on Mathematics and Science. It is no doubt that there are students who have difficulty in these two subjects, even the researcher for herself have problems understanding Mathematics subjects like Algebra and Geometry but excels more on Science subjects like Biology and other Natural Science subjects. Now let us look into what is the importance of Science and Mathematics in the curriculum of the Philippine Education System, the goals and specific objectives, how can these subjects be learned in other settings not just in the school, and other instructional materials that can be utilized to enrich the teaching of Mathematics and Science. First let us define what Mathematics is, according to the Book of Popular Science (2005): it came from the Greek word mathemata meaning things that are learned, it is mentioned in the book that this may not seem to apply just to Mathematics but to other

fields of knowledge. The reason for this is that Mathematics, the study of numbers and space in the time of Greeks also included the study of astronomy and music. Now, let us recall what has been the general meaning of Science since we were in elementary; it is an organized body of knowledge or sometimes referred to as empirical or experiential knowledge. This organized body of knowledge is a field of systematic body of inquiry and deals with nature and natural phenomena that is why when a nationwide survey was done b y the Department of Education asking students What is the most interesting subject in the school curriculum? Science has the most number of lines in the tally. There are many factors that could determine how a student can be interested in learning more about Mathematics and Science subjects, these factors can help students learn more about Mathematics and Science such as factors that could enrich the teaching of both subjects: (1) The school should provide an adequate working space for Science laboratories and provide Mathematics workbooks for students to practice on; (2) The teachers should be able to instruct and teach students according to the intensity of the subjects under the Mathematics and Science curriculum; (3) Teachers should be knowledgeable, skilled in a variety of teaching strategies, and can always inculcate values and the right attitude towards working; (4) The learning environment should always be orderly, comfortable and helpful for the students;

(5) The learners must possess adequate mental maturity; positive traits paired with great interest on the subject, special talents, and well defined objectives for themselves toward the subject; (6) Students should have a big interest for accuracy, which is why experimentation and calculation is used in Mathematics and Science; (7) Functional thinking, logical thinking and quantitative thinking should also be possessed by students. These are aspects that could help in enriching Mathematics and Science learning and to further understand it, I will discuss the following in separate parts and will later dwell on the similarities and differences in: Goals and Objectives of Mathematics and Science teaching Instructional resources that can be used in the school in teaching Science Strategies in Teaching Mathematics and; Pragmatic Approach to Teaching Science The main question is why is there a need for Mathematics and Science instruction in Education? Both of these subjects has been an integral part of our educational system since the American regime, today it is also a basis for formal and vocational/technical courses that are offered nationwide. Media reports show that consumers tend to be influenced by advertisements rather than to read labels and in return they do not get what they should really get for their money, next is that many people still believe in horoscopes and fortune tellers rather than to explain events logically or scientifically, lastly is that even educated people or those with sufficient knowledge or educational background still fall for scams and sensationalized media reports. And as mentioned in the introduction: Filipino students have low level of scientific and mathematics literacy.

A large percentage cannot apply concepts to real life. yet in every goal in teaching Mathematics or Science is that after every lesson, students should be able to apply it on real life situations. Here are the goal and specific objectives of teaching Mathematics and Science in primary and secondary schools. GOAL AND OBJECTIVES OF MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE TEACHING IN SCHOOLS First is why Mathematics instruction is needed, the researcher will further discuss the goals and objectives in teaching Mathematics for Philippine Elementary Schools. GOAL: Demonstrate understanding and skills in computing with considerable speed and accuracy, estimating, communicating, thinking analytically and critically, and in solving problems in daily life using appropriate technology.(DepEd, 2002) The above-mentioned is the goal for Philippine Elementary Schools in teaching Mathematics from pupils Grade One to Six, here are the following objectives and contents of Mathematics subjects that should be attained after the school year per Grade level: Grade I: The pupil is expected to show knowledge of central concepts and to carry

out skills on whole numbers up to one hundred including money and measurement also to perform addition and subtraction of three digit numbers that can be applied to solve problems. Grade II: The pupil is expected to show knowledge of central concepts and to carry

out skills on whole numbers up to one thousand including basics in geometry also to

perform addition of three to four digit numbers and know basic details on multiplication and division that can be applied to solve problems. Grade III: The pupil is expected to show knowledge of central concepts and to carry

out skills on whole numbers up to one hundred thousand, fractions, measurement and graphs also to perform the four fundamental operations that can be applied to solve problems. Grade IV: The pupil is expected to show knowledge of central concepts and to carry

out skills on whole numbers up to million and billions, including money, decimals, fractions, geometry, graphs and scales also to perform accurate and estimated computations of the four fundamental operations that can be applied to solve problems. Grade V: The pupil is expected to have mastered central concepts and to carry out

skills on the fundamental operations on whole numbers, demonstrate understanding of concepts and perform skills on fractions, decimals including money, ratio, percent, geometry, measurement and graphs accurate and estimated computations of the four fundamental operations and rational numbers including money and measurement that can be applied to solve problems. Grade VI: The pupil is expected to have mastered central concepts and to carry out

skills on the fundamental operations on whole numbers, demonstrate understanding of concepts and perform skills on decimals, fractions, ratio and proportion, percent, integers, simple probability, geometry, measurement and graphs, integers accurate and estimated computations of the four fundamental operations that involves decimals, money, fractions and measurement that can be applied to solve problems.

The objectives and main goal for Mathematics teaching is clearly shown when you observe a Mathematics class in an elementary school and even when you observe your surroundings, in a store, in cooking, and in measuring things. These are the practical uses of Mathematics in our lives. The following are the goals of Science teaching that should serve as a guide in teaching Science lessons and conducting activities for students in Primary and Secondary Schools: 1. Develop scientific attitudes and values 2. Acquire skill in employing the scientific method 3. Gain functional knowledge and information 4. Arouse and sustain interest in future science-based pursuits 5. Develop desirable social attitudes There are differences and similarities in the goals and specific objectives of teaching Mathematics and Science to students. These are to instill the right attitude and values towards working on both of the subject matter. Even though Mathematics and Science are technical subjects and special bodies of knowledge, values are always included in dealing with both subjects. Now, teaching Mathematics and Science is not just practiced inside the classroom with the usual teacher-blackboard-student way but there are other methods that could enhance Science learning by using other instructional materials and there are teaching strategies in improving the learning of Mathematics and making it more interactive. A. INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES THAT CAN BE USED IN THE SCHOOL IN TEACHING SCIENCE

1. School-based instructional resources this includes displays, exhibits of various collections (lesson on type of rocks) , flower and vegetable gardens (lesson on plant growth), mini zoo, fishpond, aquarium or terrarium (lesson on animals and fishes), mini library/reading center, newspaper files and other Science archives (for a source of scientific articles or stories), a canteen and a museum (to provide other specimens or displays for further learning) 2. Community Resources this includes city/town museum, hospitals, drugstores, clinic, botanical garden, plant nursery, zoo, aviary, hatcheries, farms and orchards, plantations, weather station and factories 3. Nature Trips this includes a trip to hills, valleys, mountains and forests (lesson on different land forms), river, canal, lake and bay (lesson on different bodies of water), and orchidarium 4. Human Resources this includes interviews or talks from doctors, nurses and dentists, agriculturist, fisherman, professors and teachers also. These instructional resources are available inside a classroom and in the community; it is accessible and these are tomes of knowledge that could help enhance the learning of Science. As a subject defined as an empirical or experiential knowledge, these instructional materials will help students in learning because they experience and see the lessons they have discussed in a moving or real form. B. STRATEGIES IN TEACHING MATHEMATICS 1. Authority Teaching The teacher as an authority simply states the concept to be learned. The teacher must explain to the students the lesson that will be discussed for the day through analogy and demonstration.

2. Interaction and discussions Interaction is created by asking questions in order to provide means for active instead of passive participation. 3. Discovery The elements of discovery experience are motivation, if there is room for discovery for students there is a big opportunity to make inferences and a condition to apply the general concepts. 4. Laboratory The advantages are: a) maximizes student participation, b) provides appropriate level of difficulty, c) offers novel approaches, and d) improves attitudes towards mathematics. Laboratory exercises or activities are done through experimental activities that deal with situations like drawing, weighing, averaging and estimating samples. 5. Teacher-controlled presentations The teacher uses educational technologies such as films and filmstrips, programmed materials, and audio materials. These materials could help in further explaining topics about problem solving and theories such as Constructivism, Cognitive Theory, and Cooperative Learning could help in building professional relationships with students and to instill the right attitude towards learning Mathematics. Let us discuss the similarities in the teaching strategies in mathematics and Science, both of the subjects needs the teachers guidance in working (experimentation and solving), as mentioned earlier by the researcher the right attitude and values towards working is needed to uplift the working ethics of students, school-based facilities are needed for example laboratories and interactive displays/models, human resources not just the teacher are needed for added information, and it can be learned through trips to various places in the community.

THE PRAGMATIC APPROACH TO TEACHING SCIENCE As an example for this part, the lesson Breath of Life is conducted by teachers with various approaches and by using the mother tongue language of the students. Teaching Science in Filipino has been a great deal of debate in the education field yet this will help students understand more clearly and relate the concepts to real life without being alienated or taken aback by terms. To assess prior knowledge of students about the human respiratory system, the teacher made them draw their answers to the question, When you breathe air, where does it go? Then students were asked to explain their drawings, their ideas gave the teacher distinguished information about what they already know about respiration and their misconceptions. She used their ideas to kick off class discussion and to encourage students in connecting what they already know with their new learning experiences. The teacher used the real, hands-on way of teaching the mechanism of breathing (inhaling and exhaling), by using an improvised, working lung-chest model. She explained the abstract idea about what happens to inhaled air inside the body. To teach science concepts, the teacher used the science process skills: 1) Observing 2) Communicating (verbally, in written form, and through drawing) 3) Inferring, and 4) Making a model. All these processes will make the students think and express their ideas in Filipino or much better in English. Constant response to feedback (Assessment for Learning) was evident as the teaching progressed because there were rooted assessment questions in the

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activity sheets. The assessment questions can be answered by solving a jigsaw puzzle, writing sentences, making a lung-chest model and observing how it works, and interpreting illustrations. Through Assessment for Learning, there was constant teacherstudent interaction; thus, a quick checkup of conceptual understanding was possible. IMPORTANCE OF MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE TEACHING IN

PHILIPPINE EDUCATION Science There are three components of teaching according to the book Principles of Learning, and these three are the teachers, the learner, and the learning environment. Teaching and learning occur greatly when students are able to experience or see it not just in the school but in the community or at home. Teaching is interactive when students are able to see how authorities or knowledgeable people perform their tasks and do things that could help the community and is related to what the students are studying. And the mentioned situations are examples of the interrelation of the three components of teaching. As learners start to trek their way onto a more complicated world, they undergo changes in physical, emotional, and mental aspects. They grow taller, heavier, more aware of the opposite sex and most specially is more matured and in thinking and analyzing things. Curiosity and the eagerness to learn are what these learners are known for. Have you ever encountered a child who asks about everything? Technically, a learner is like that even when he is older, because for the researcher, when the mind stops asking questions, it is the time that the learner has learned everything that she/he could learn in and from the world. But the world is revolving and changing every second, minute or hour that we are in it, everything changes from physical attributes to the landscape of the

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world itself. This is what Mathematics and Science teaching offers for learners and even the teachers. As subjects that are subjected to change and are based on the analysis and observation of the natural world; Science and Mathematics are subjects that hone the critical analysis and mental maturity of students, it exercises logical thinking and experimentation that could help students gain experiences form these experiments or practices, Mathematics and Science both are specialized bodies of knowledge that aims to quench the thirst of learners for the truth and accurate information, these subjects offer to relieve the questions that the mind constantly asks and could be explained through Mathematics and Science. And lastly, these subjects harness critical values and professional attitudes that can be developed as a young learner. These values can be carried out onto adulthood and learners and teachers are knowledge-driven, armed with intellectual curiosity, and there is this constant love for precision and accuracy that could lead them to the truth they search for. Mathematics and Science teaching in the Philippine Education Curriculum will always be an integral part of the education system because both of these subjects are also operating under a system; from a set of data, into a system of information that will later be knowledge to the learner and when thought of well will be imbued in their minds and it will be wisdom to them if it is a part of their life and is always practiced.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Corpuz, B. B., Salandanan, G. G., Rigor, D. V. (ND). Principles of Teaching. Philippines: Lorimar Publishing Inc.

Mark Cummings. (2004). The New Book of Popular Science. Danbury, Connecticut: Grolier.

Department of Education. (2002). The Primer on Basic Education Curriculum

Balce Marina E., Teaching Quality Science Education in Filipino: Mathematics Education Development. [PDF Document] Retrieved from University of the Philippines National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development Online Website: http://www.upd.edu.ph/~ismed/

Tan, Merle C. (2008). Science and Mathematics Education in the Philippines: Basic Education Level [Power Point slides]. Retrieved from: http://comste.gov.ph/images/files/Merle%20Tan.ppt

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